In this case, DXOMark magically added a metric (bokeh and zoom) just one week after the iPhone 8 review. Of course this is a good plus for Apple. Before iPhones were behind Google Pixel, behind HTC U11, Samsung S8+. They were not in the top 10. Now magically, they get to be on top. I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a discussion or collaboration between doxmark and apple to review their metrics to have iPhone 8 and X under the best light possible
Pixel v iPhone 8+
90 - 89 : Exposure and Contrast
80 - 78 : Color
98 - 74 : Autofocus
70 - 64 : Texture
65 - 68 : Noise
50 - 73 : Artifacts
81 - 84 : Flash
24 - 51 : Zoom
30 - 55 : Bokeh
91 - 89 : Video
I guess picking the "best" comes down to how important those features are to each customer. Though Google isn't standing still, the Pixel 2 is announced in two weeks.
I think the scores are fairly registered but they tend to bend a bit when it comes down to money. Google (and their fans) shouldn't complain if they did the same trick before.
I think the iPhone 8 Plus has a really great camera and the numbers show it. Though the importance of bokeh and zoom is something that you can debate. But I like the pictures that the HTC, Pixel and S8 take a lot as well. For me personally having optical zoom is a killer feature and definitely the feature that nudges me into the direction of the iPhone 8 Plus.
I think we're getting to the point where the incremental gains we're seeing with each new phone cycle are almost unnoticeable to the average user who just wants to take photos of their kids to send to Grandma.
I don't think so. As someone with a whole lot of expensive "real" camera gear, I was astonished - and I don't really say that lightly - with what I saw a friend getting out of her iphone 7+. If three years ago you had shown me some of these images I would have sworn they were taken by at least five grand worth of gear, expertly used. And by all reports the 8 is another giant step up.
This techcrunch review tells the story: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/19/review-iphone-8/
I find this all incredibly exciting. It reminds me of the great democratisation of electronic music, where all of a sudden you didn't need $30k worth of hardware synths to make music - a single computer would do. A cambrian explosion of creativity ensued.
High quality and highly capable cameras - and video cameras - in the hands of the masses? Bring it on I say! How many thousands, if not millions, of incredible, moving, moment-defining images will be captured now we don't need a pro photographer on hand to do justice to a scene?
If we're gonna have cameras in smartphones - and we're gonna - they may as well be good, and Apple is setting the pace - and forcing down the price. Good on them.
If you, someone experienced with "real" camera gear, were "astonished" by the iphone 7+ pictures and thought they were taken by "five grand worth of gear", then for the average person further gains are going to be unremarkable.
Yes, I understand that a camera gearhead finds everything new and each small improvement incredibly exciting. But for the average picture taker none of it is a big deal; what they have is already quite good, certainly good enough. Of course, it won't be hard for marketing to convince people that they should go out and once again fork over more of their hard earned money for "the best", even if it's in reality a minor improvement.
Also, for the real photographers the equipment is secondary. Better gear helps very little with creating better pictures. I assure you, people were making awesome pictures with digital cameras ten and twenty years ago, with specs that anybody would laugh at now. Good photographers can produce good pictures no matter what camera they take them with. (And, conversely, bad photographers produce crap no matter how good their cameras.)
I think this is a pretty cynical view. OK, maybe the majority don't give a damn, but quite a few people obviously do. Someone's buying iPhones, and S8s, etc. It's pretty dark to assume that all of them are just brainwashed by marketing. Certainly I would say 50%+ of the smartphone owners I personally know were at least influenced by the camera quality.
> what they have is already quite good, certainly good enough
Well, the reason what they have might be "good enough" is because of this relentless "drag to quality" that Apple et al are orchestrating.
> for the real photographers the equipment is secondary
And yet all the "real photographers" have tens of thousands of dollars worth of gear. Funny, that. Look, there's a truth to it - no gear on earth will help you if you don't have an eye for framing, light, etc. But gear does matter and it's ridiculous to pretend otherwise. Direct me to your nearest pro/awarded/exhibited tog who wields a $100 point and shoot and I'll eat my words.
Seriously, photography is probably best example of a subculture full of amateurs who obsess over gear and think throwing more money at gear is going to give them a better end product (although there are many similar subcultures). Crap is crap, however good the gear is that's used to make it.
Here you can read another article about a professional photographer's use of cheaper cameras:
and, e.g., a discussion by serious photographers here:
.. and this page is also interesting, "13 Digital-point-and-shoots used by the pros":
.. or this one, some beautiful photos by photojournalist who paid $70 for the camera (way back in 2011) ...
I say this as someone who used and tested the 5s, 6, 6s Plus, 7 Plus, Nexus 5x and Google Pixel. Every year brings a marginal improvement. Unless you have a many year old phone, upgrading won’t produce noticeably better photos.
I won't argue with you on the first number. 10 years ago good photographers took beautiful images with the Canon 1Ds Mk III or the Nikon D300.
However, 20 years ago you were stuck with modified film bodies like the Kodak DCS520, shooting 2 megapixel images of questionable quality for the bargain price of $15,000
It is only fairly recently that any digital camera off the shelf is capable of producing "good" images with a good photographer, and we're now getting to the point where computational photography and incredible smartphone sensors will produce good images with a total novice at the helm. That's what makes this all so exciting.
20 years ago, in 1997, I bought my first -consumer- digital camera, an Epson Photo PC500. It had a resolution of 640x480. If I'm not mistaken, I think I paid around 700 CAD at the time. And the photos weren't even as good as "questionable quality". So I would go even further and say 20 years ago is a huge stretch.
I do think at least 17 years is legit, though, back to release of Canon EOS D30 in 2000. D30 was only 3.3MP, but was used by a lot of professional photographers and made some great images (I still have one, taken by a photographer friend, that is one of my favorite pictures ever). I think it was priced around $3k.
You can read review by Michael Reichmann at Luminous Landscape, who called the D30 an "inflection point" and said it "changes the playing field forever". He took plenty of pictures with D30 and had multiple exhibits with gallery-size prints:
I'm pretty sure good photographers made great images with lesser digital cameras before that, but D30 was the camera that started people thinking that digital could really be as good as or better than film.
I'm not saying you can't see what the picture is of. Sure, you can. But nothing about it is pretty. Think about the lowest budget, crappiest webcam you can imagine - that's it.
"equipment is secondary" - buddy with that hardware you're taking "glitch in the matrix" digital dystopia pictures and basically nothing else. And hey I like that. But don't pretend it just needed a skilled hand. There were fundamental flaws and every photographer I knew back then swore they'd never forsake film, and who could blame them?
That's kind of a strange argument, no? You're saying that if experienced photographers think the improvement is large, then average people can't tell the difference?
That's very strange.
Have a look at e.g. this paper from Google. http://www.hdrplusdata.org/hdrplus_preprint.pdf These changes certainly count as "astonishing" to me (let's say, an "enthusiastic amateaur" photog), and I think you'd be hard-pressed to argue that this tech is insignificant to the average user.
go explain to someone in high school why andrew wiles proof of fermat theorem is harder than galois theory... i'm bringin my pop corns
Not really. A layperson takes stuff for granted because they don't know better (or what to look for). An expert knows better and can appreciate the differences.
An expert might know why, and be able to pick out a few reasons more why one is superior to the other, but the layperson still has a pair of eyes.
The thing is that this is highly subjective and widely varies from person to person. Sometimes it's related to the content (subject) of the photo, sometimes it's the colors, sometimes it's the sharpness, etc.
And sometimes the reason why the photo is "better" has more to do with the photographer's camera settings or technical choices than how good the camera is on paper.
I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable of cameras, but I will consistently say that a high DOF iPhone portrait is better than a portrait with razor thin DOF with silky bokeh shot on a Sony A9, when the A9 is clearly the superior camera. That's because my definition of "looks better" is highly subjective and unique to my own tastes and biases.
I agree completely. I appreciate the gear like anyone else, but it's all about the end result. A recent iphone plus in portrait mode can genuinely capture an amazing looking, high apparent DOF photo. Yes it's all computer trickery but who cares. It looks great. An expert with an A9, with the right lens, primed for the shot, might be able to do better but - and here's the important part - 99.9% of the time they're not there.
So many photos are all about edge cases. If one phone’s sunset or lightning or eclipse photos are more beautiful, people will notice—virally. We’re not at the marketable limit of miniature camera technology. Even if we hit perfect reality —> digital image compression, a smaller camera module, in line with the chassis, would still have a marketable advantage. We’re far from peak camera; gains shouldn’t be dismissed.
I take issue with this, but even granting it as true for the sake of argument: most people aren't upgrading from a 7+ to an 8+... they're upgrading from a 5S, or a 6, and the difference is massive. Portrait Mode alone is giant leap forward for normal people taking pictures of kids or pets.
> I think we're getting to the point where the incremental gains we're seeing with each new phone cycle are almost unnoticeable to the average user
That's why the comparison between phones of successive years was made. That being said, I'm not disagreeing with your claim that most people will upgrade from older devices.
> then for the average person further gains are going to be unremarkable
I'm the average person, I'm blown away by each iteration's improvement. I can already feel like the quality of the pictures I took with my previous phones were completely shitty whereas I did not noticed back then due to my lack of exposure with good quality pictures.
I have an iPhone 6S but I'm being tickled by the idea of upgrading just for the camera. Of course I won't, this is too expensive, but in a year or two I will.
I watch a fair amount of youtube, discoverability of "good" youtube content is very low in my experience, but if you're lucky you do stumble across some absolutely fantastic content that is completely on par with traditional, professionally staffed network television news or documentary shows, except produced by what is typically just a motivated consumer who's put in the work to learn the tools of the trade (and I expect that is probably quite a lot easier nowadays as well, as I imagine there are youtube channels that show you how do learn most all of the skills required to produce a solid youtube channel).
Truly a unique and exciting time in history!
... then i get them into lightroom on a 5k display and I can immediately tell from the watercolor effect which photos were taken on the iphone -- often without zooming in at all.
Though the dynamic range looks better from the iPhone, likely only because it outputs jpegs and I'm using RAW on the Sony. Sometimes I use the iPhone shot as the reference for how to tweak+process the Sony pictures, which look better after said processing.
I'm still considering getting a full-format mirrorless system someday, because even with as great as smartphone cameras are getting there's only so much you can do with an image sensor the size of a pea - but damned if they don't take good looking pictures regardless.
I'm on my iPhone 6 (not even the 6s) right now and I'll be upgrading after three years of having it, but only because the screen is shattered, battery life is bad, and sometimes it's a bit slow.
Sony's imaging hardware is the best, full stop. Their software sucks, full stop. I wish Apple would just buy them and fix that and my god, the things that could be done. An Apple/Sony a7Riii.. what was the phrase?
> I don't care how much it costs
I tried an iPhone 7+ one for like 3 minutes, at 10pm in a low light bowling club surrounding. I wanted to taste the camera magic and left totally disappointed both by software and sensor. I don't know how I managed that but I succeeded into making a set of crappy shots. I tried fiddling with the focus and luminosity gizmo in vain.
I have a moto g3, pictures are just adequate (I don't pursue ultimate quality like I used to), but I'd still be curious to see some photo magic out of an iPhone.
In fact, it's probably the area where we see the most gain compared to any other improvements in iPhone versions.
Perhaps your feeling is from the fact that new phones are released in rapid succession. If that's the case, just compare quality in phones a year or two apart instead of a few months.
Also, focus stacking!
As an a7Sii owner I couldn't agree more (the D850 looks great too). Phone cameras are going to have a hard time catching up there. There's only so much light and at some point, sensor size matters.
In my GP comment I mentioned being amazed by my friend's iphone 7+ pics, and it's true, I was. But when the sun went down, the a7Sii ruled over everything and captured every good picture from then on. There's a long way to go for the mobiles to be able to compete at night. Nice to know our investments aren't totally useless :P
No matter how you cut it, that's generously 1/10th the sensing area/capacity (same thing). And it's not like the sensor tech in the iPhone will be 10x more efficient than contemporary DSLRs - iPhone sensors are made by sony, who will use the same tech in their own cameras. To get comparable light cell for cell into that you'll need a lens with 10x more light ingress, and sophisticated optics to focus it precisely down to a tiny half-square-centimetre. This lens would be larger, heavier and more expensive than the phone itself. Think "large can of tomatoes" size.
Not saying it's impossible. Mobile phone companies have pulled off some amazing advances and I have no idea what tricks might be up their sleeves. But for now, no mobile even touches full frame DSLRs in low light, and it doesn't seem like an easy hill to climb.
Reminds me of this: https://www.poorlydrawnlines.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/...
And my Nikon DSLR still takes much better pictures than any phone on the market. If smartphones will ever improve to equal the better optics of a DSLR, we shall see, but there's tremendous room for improvement.
And most importantly, light is everything and biggest difference between a good camera and a bad one is the ability to make photos in poor light conditions. Improvements matter because I've had many attempts failed due to poor light, which are essentially lost memories.
Also it's a bit presumptuous to relegate all smartphone photography to that of quick snapshots of kids for grandma. Why shouldn't someone be able to take an action shot of their kid playing soccer (requires fast shutter speeds meaning better light sensitivity or wider aperture), utilize depth especially when contrasting between foreground and background, capture the high ranges present in landscape photos, crop out distracting elements and to a pleasing ratio (thus making the pixels important), use flash without washing out their subject or coloring them, capturing rich colors without having to later turn the saturation slider to 100 later, focus right away to catch that moment, etc... If you draw your own artificial line at what people should use their phone cameras for, you can justify any shitty camera, but if you want people to take quality photographs with top of the line DSLRs as benchmarks, and allow them to be creative with them and get the max out of them, there's still so much room for improvement.
You're right though, the constant marketing of phone cameras is kind of funny. I have no doubt the iPhone makes incremental improvements every year, as do other phone cameras.
However, if you jump between generations it's interesting to see the difference. I sometimes see old pictures I've taken with old phones and the difference is much more visible
It's frankly surprising that people make regular calls anymore because of the inter-network lack of HD voice; you'd think everybody would make hangouts or FaceTime calls.
Of course, the other likelihood from ignorance is that few people have good hearing.
But, my best example is for doing interview phone screens. (where two people are at fixed positions with high speed networks)
Casting wide aspersions, I feel like it's because you can't get likes/upvotes for phone calls. But, Snapchat shows that ephemeralness is valued, so maybe it's something else behind the war on direct personal real communication.
Alternatively, "progress on camera technology continues to advance, see specifics here."
There are plenty of Android phones far ahead of Apple devices.
I'm never not amazed at the state-of-the-art.
DXO makes the equivalent of Lightroom, they're not a bunch of hipsters.
So far they all suck at low-light photography or moving subjects (or both at the same time like taking pictures of kids indoors at a birthday party). That would be a real breakthrough.
EDIT Original source: http://austinmann.com/trek/iphone-8-camera-review-india
The optical image stabilisation & object tracking of our eyes is mind blowing. Optical illusions demonstrate the amount of interpolation that our brains to do aid vision / fill in the gaps of image detail coming from the eyes.
Not really intending to be an apologist for digital cameras nor disagree that they have a lot of room for improvement, but moreso just put it all in a different light.
Most people who only photograph with phones, even high end ones, don't seem to realize that similar gains happen in the camera sensors as well. And them being always much larger, they will always be ahead in low light and in signal/noise ratio.
There are probably plenty of people that will pay for a phone camera that makes them look less like themselves if it makes them look more attractive in subtle ways.
We never see static images of the world; we have a rather narrow field of vision and move our eyes constantly. So whatever we perceive of the world is basically a function of our attention. Remember those videos where volunteers perform some complicated collective task and fail to see a gorilla passing right between them.
Photos in contrast are static (the photographer has to hint towards the attention-point structure he thinks that reflects what attracted his eye in first place by framing and lighting) and two-dimensional (so the photographer has to select a focus structure that, again, hints at the attention-point structure).
This is why photos of crowds (think of the masses on the streets after the earthquake in Mexico) are either art-level pieces that basically employ the pictorial language of classical paintings; or don't seem to represent the story at all.
And this isn't new, in fact it's a phenomenon that's happening ever since Neanderthals and their cave paintings.
I'm sure photography has served many uses, and capturing the real world is certainly one of them.
When have photos ever been about accuracy? When they were black and white? Or when Polaroid had problems with furniture and colored skin?
I don't take a lot of photographs so I don't care too much about cameras but not being able to display a decent image on a modern TV without having it mess it up on purpose is really annoying me. Even disabling all the post processing doesn't really work anymore. It's like those CD masters with all the sound pushed near saturation to make it sound louder, it's a cheap marketing gimmick.
The rear-facing camera would default to their 'Auto' mode, switch to the front-facing and you have to switch out of something like 'Beauty' mode with tons of post-processing for selfies.
"Hey $FRIEND, this new phone is great! I can't believe how good it makes me look. You can really see my eyes. Check it out!"
Loudness enhancement reduces the dynamic range of the source, and HDR enhancement also removes information to allow different information to be more easily perceived by the human.
We're all stuck in Plato's cave. Aperture is just one thing you can use to change how a photo looks, and this has always been under the control of photographers:
My camera points outwards rather than in, sadly selfies are not helped in my personal situation.
iPhone 8: https://cdn.dxomark.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ip8Plus-I...
That's not even close. Wider angle. Better range of contrast. Better sharpness of details. Hard to say which is truer to the colors without being there, but the colors look better on the Pixel.
Edit: By their own ratings, the Pixel phone beats the iPhone on every metric scored:
Pixel v. iPhone 8+
90 - 89 :Exposure & Contrast
85 - 78 :Color
93 - 74 :Autofocus
93 - 64 :Texture
89 - 68 :Noise
84 - 73 :Artifacts
88 - 84 :Flash
89 - 96 :Final Score
How does the iPhone receive an overall rating substantially higher than its highest individual rating?
Edit: Also one day before the iPhone event on September 12. The purpose was clearly to create a situation under which they could have the iPhone win.
Otherwise the two photos just look very differently processed / post-processed. It wouldn't be hard to Photoshop the iPhone shot to look more like the Pixel shot. The reverse would be maybe harder, but the Pixel probably has some setting that would crank down the contrast.
Don't get me wrong, the pixel is good, but i would say that's definitely an extra 10% leap at least even if i do think it's a bit warm color temp wise(and that's adjustable!)
Wide angle is not something that is better or worse.
I think both the Pixel and iPhone Plus take some of the best mobile camera photos out there. The Pixel is much, much better at low light. However, the iPhone reproduces colors in a more realistic way. Most Pixel photos usually seem to have a harsher color tone, brighter/whiter, very cool like LEDs. The iPhone seems to favor a more warm color temperature, which I think generally produces worse low light photos, but more accurate color reproduction.
As for color, that is somewhat up for debate. I would say that the color of her lipstick in the iPhone looks unrealistic and she's probably not nearly as tan as the iPhone makes her look.
The performance of these smartphone cameras is getting closer and closer to DSLR's nowadays. However the level of zoomed in detail still can't compete, but most consumers don't care anyway because most just want to take pics of their food and post on instagram.
The iPhone 8 is doing some post processor magic to do lighting and bokeh in a way that is difficult to replicate either physically or in post. This is really nice! That said, real bokeh will be hard to beat even with AI as it depends a lot on the three-dimensional information available at the time of capture. AI will have to re-create that stuff and will always be an approximation. Of course, your x100F isn't going to be a bokeh monster, but other cameras at that level compare here.
You're right in that for IG food shots it's never going to matter and that's great because the iPhone created a golden age of photography, tbh. But it's silly to say that this hardware can compare to pro hardware. If you're shooting with pro hardware it's because you're going to push performance in some way or another and those are the times that an iPhone can't keep up.
That said, these AI improvements can help push performance as they improve and I'd love to see Apple work with a camera company to incorporate them.
Yes, that is true for people who have some knowledge. For most non-photography-buffs, the comparison goes as far as "hey, that looks as good as the photo Uncle Joe shot on his DSLR". It's a very superficial comparison, but for a layperson, perception is reality.
I would liken it to the concept of "virtual surround sound". Of course, it's not really surround sound, but if the listener's ears and brain are tricked enough to think it's surround sound, it's surround sound to them.
I mean, you could crop those pictures but that wouldn't exactly be fair to the Pixel.
I think you've got this exactly backwards.
In forty years a slightly better image will still be slightly better, but a 5MB vs a 10MB file will be as meaningless as comparing a 50KB vs a 100KB text file is today.
Currently, it seems to be made by Himax Technologies:
Main rear sensors are still by Sony as far as I know.
Given the option, I'd rather have killer new features like 3D scanning  than a bokeh effect which is slightly better to a trained eye.
+ The sink faucet has a shadow that comes from a low light source to the right.
+ The rest of the appliances on the counter cast shadows upward and toward the windows.
Not yet tested.
If Google just ships common stuff, then why did the Pixel score industry leading numbers on camera, beating the iPhone 7? And doesn't Apple ship Sony image censors, Qualcomm modems, and Samsung OLED displays? Or their "GPU" which is in fact, a licensed PowerVR IP.
You're buying into marketing hype. Apple's last keynote marketed 4K HDR as if they had invented it, they're marketing HEVC motion compensation as if they did something no one else had done, they sell "True Tone" displays, which aren't a feature of the display at all, but just adjusting color temperature based on ambient light sensor, which is something Samsung phones have been shipping for years.
Google and Android vendors do a piss poor job of calling attention to details they've obsessed over, while Apple deploys Johnny Ive to talk about chamfered edges. All this creates a mythos that Apple is the only company that cares about details.
Sell a "case" that holds and attaches lenses for a hundred bucks or so, bundle it with an app, and allow people to continue using the same lenses, which they make more money on anyway. Commercially, this would be a huge win for whichever of the camera giants decides to do this first.
Additionally, under this model, the cost of the phone + case ($800 + $100) is higher than the cost of the DSLR sensor by itself (which runs about $600 new), so it doesn't necessarily make it obsolete, but it gives iPhone owners a lower barrier to entry for DSLR lenses, which I would imagine would drive lens sales quite a bit. I really don't see a downside here, if it's possible on a technical basis
I know that is ridiculous, but I remember a "1mp" camera was advertised everywhere as a thing for a phone to have. It wasn't that long ago really.
Let's say your 2040 Iphone captures 4000mp of the entire visible scene. Then you have some special software that unicorns everything into amazing sauce.
I know this is all pretty whimsical, but none the less, I feel that the path we are going down is one that Nikon and Canon can't finish.
"How one of the best films at Sundance was shot using an iPhone 5S"
Or if you want something a bit more Hollywood, Gondry is experimenting with it.
"Michel Gondry debuts film shot entirely on Apple's iPhone 7"
For example, compare the size of the Panasonic M43 35-100/2.8 to the Canon 70-200/2.8 or Canon 70-200/4.0
There's a noticeable reduction in size and weight with the M43 gear if you're OK with the compromises of using a crop sensor.
I used to have an APS-C DSLR and carried a few lenses with me on trips. My main system now is Nikon 1 and in the same space in my bag that my DSLR and lenses used to take, I can put two bodies and five lenses.
While I know that many people consider the Nikon 1 system a joke, I chose it because it works very well for my specific needs (I also have some M43 gear but I still prefer my N1 gear because of the size). Obviously, I wouldn't recommend it to most people, since their needs don't necessarily line up with mine.
1. Frame rate
2. Elimination of mirror-bounce blurring at slow shutter speeds
3. WYSIWYG viewfinder
Most of them are invested in Nikon or Canon lenses and are ready to throw thousands of dollars at the first mirrorless SLR from either of them which is exactly the same size as current mirror bodies. Many find the Sony mirror less bodies too small to hold.
Don't get me wrong, I use my Fujifilm camera more than my full-frame Canon DSLRs. But it's almost solely because the Fujifilm is smaller and lighter to travel with.
Of course, it will be fun to play with any new tech.
Don't get me wrong, the iPhone 8 has a good camera, and it is marginally better than the pixel's, but is this really enough to celebrate?
- 8+: 94
- 8: 92
- Pixel / HTC U11: 90
Has anyone run an objective test on, say, ten iPhone 8 units vs 10 iPhone 8+ units? Other than Apple?